The unitary development plan (UDP) sought to retain the current hospital use or, failing that, to ensure alternative community or social uses. It claimed that the appellants should have marketed the site for a range of uses, including elderly persons' accommodation or any use falling in class D1. It drew attention to a planning brief requiring proof that the site was not attractive for social and community facilities.
The inspector noted that one of her colleagues, in considering interpretation of the UDP policy, had concluded that the policy protection applied only to the existing use and did not oblige developers to consider the whole ambit of community and social uses. This approach had been upheld following a High Court challenge and she saw no reason to depart from it.
In her view, the appellants had demonstrated that there was no longer a need to preserve the site as a hospital. An adjoining section had been developed as a nursing home and health centre and the appeal site had been designated as surplus to the primary care trust's requirements. On this basis, she saw no justification for the planning brief's demand for other community uses to be considered first. This test went beyond the remit of the UDP policy and conflicted with PPS12, she held.
DCS Number 100-064-764
Inspector Laura Graham; Written representations